The society is full of stories that are not being told; stories of vulnerable groups and under-served communities. However, the media everyday bombards the audience with news about events and personalities.
Hence, the need for journalists especially those in developing nations to rise above such reporting to focus on the issues bedeviling their communities cannot be over emphasized.
To this end, Africa Media Development Foundation, (AMDF) in achieving its goal of providing professional support to journalists in 2016, trained some journalists on development journalism with the aim of bringing to the fore issues affecting different groups and communities.
The contributions of these development reporters have attracted actions and aid from government and philanthropist within and outside Nigeria. Examples of such were reports from Angwan Kanti, Kakura, and Iri communities all in Kaduna, North west Nigeria.
To widen the scope, AMDF in 2018 introduced a project titled: “Enhancing Development journalism in Kaduna.” The project seeks to bring more journalists on board to widen their understanding of policies and issues and build their capacity to report issues of development in the state.
The project seeks to build capacity of journalists to assess and report situations faced by different groups of people; especially vulnerable groups and different communities. To be implemented over a period of six months, it also seeks to build passion for reporting issues affecting the people whom the journalists claim to speak for.
The first phase started on Thursday 8th February, 2018 with a face to face training on Development Journalism. Participants were taken through presentations on Introduction to Development journalism and Approaches to writing development stories.
Presenting on development journalism the Coordinator of AMDF Sekyen Dadik noted that Development journalism is the kind of journalism that goes beyond reporting events and personalities to reporting issues for the global world to know and act upon. It pays sustained attention to the coverage of ideas, policies, programs, activities and events dealing with the improvement of the life of people.
On Approaches to writing development stories, Media Development specialist, Iliya Kure enjoined Participants to be committed, passionate and willing to sacrifice finances, time and intellect so as to contribute to National Development.
It was also clear that to succeed as development journalists the need to rise above cultural and religious sentiments is important. Participants were also exposed to tips on how to pitch Stories that can sell on local and international media and make positive impact on rural communities.
To expose participants to conditions in communities, a field trip to an under-served community was embarked upon. Participants had the opportunity to interact with members of Kabobo Community in Igabi Local government Area of Kaduna State, North West Nigeria.
Kabobo Community 27 kilometres away from the Kaduna town and 15 kilometres away from Rigachikun along Kaduna – Zaria road, Kaduna, has a population of about 1,200 people predominantly farmers. However the community has no single health care facility thereby exposing children and women especially pregnant women to unimaginable danger. Educationally, the community only boasts of a block of two classrooms serving about 220 pupils of Kabobo and other neighbouring communities. With a low level of girl child education as girls are given out in marriage between the ages 13-14.
It is expected that at the end of the project reports from the team on Kabobo community and other communities that will be visited will attract intervention from government, private organizations, development partners and philanthropists.
Seven (7) journalists from different media organizations in Kaduna are being mentored in the pilot phase of ‘Enhancing Development Journalism in Kaduna’ Project.